Oli Marmol hints at Cardinals potentially trading Nolan Gorman or Brendan Donovan

Oli Marmol commented on the second base job for 2024 and hinted that the Cardinals may not have one of Brendan Donovan or Nolan Gorman next season.
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves / Brett Davis/GettyImages

The Winter Meetings have been slow so far, but based on Cardinals manager Oli Marmol's comments, they may be looking to deal one of their best young bats to upgrade their pitching staff further this offseason.

When Marmol was asked about how the club's second base position would shake out in 2024, he cracked the door open for one of Gorman or Donovan to be moved this offseason (Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat captured the comment).

Let's be clear here, Donovan and Gorman are the only two options for the second base job at the moment. Tommy Edman is the superior defender, but the club plans on him being their starting center fielder and insurance for Masyn Winn at shortstop. Thomas Saggese is an exciting prospect, but he likely begins the year in Triple-A and would not beat out one of those guys for second base.

If both are on the roster, one would likely be the designated hitter most days, and Donovan specifically has the versatility to play all over the field when others have off days. Marmol indicated this in a later interview with MLB Network.

John Mozeliak was asked about their offense on Monday, and while the major takeaway from his quote was the availability of Tyler O'Neill in trades, he too asked the question "Is it going to be Gorman or Donovan" at second base? He did not go out of his way to commit to the other one being the designated hitter.

They aren't going to trade one of those two guys just for the sake of trading one of them. Putting Donovan or Gorman on the table indicates that the Cardinals are serious about making another significant upgrade to their pitching staff, and know that one of those names could be the difference in acquiring someone like Dylan Cease. I talked about this with site contributors Sandy McMillan and Andrew Wang on the Noot News Podcast.

If you read the tea leaves when it comes to reporting over this last calendar year, the guy who seems more likely to be dealt is Nolan Gorman. The Cardinals were willing to part with him in a potential Sean Murphy trade last offseason and not Donovan, and over the last year, different Cardinals' insiders seem to indicate that the Cardinals view Donovan as untouchable, and don't always say the same thing when it comes to Gorman.

Nick Gorsich just put together an awesome piece on the site on why the Cardinals should not trade Nolan Gorman. Gorman is the lone left-handed bat on the Cardinals roster, and frankly, their entire organization, who has the potential to mash 30+ home runs a year and does so while playing at second base. Most left-handed bats like his play first base, corner outfield, or designated hitter. Gorman's bat is extremely valuable and one I would not be quick to part with.

In the same breath, I also would not be eager to trade Donovan. In my opinion, St. Louis should be doing everything in their power to swing a deal for a Cease or Tyler Glasnow without giving up Nolan Gorman or Brendan Donovan. Put some of their top prospects on the table instead and try to make a deal happen some other way.

There's still a good chance neither is moved this offseason, but it sounds like the Cardinals are exploring the potential of a trade here.